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Casual Comics Hot Comic Book Picks of the Week – September 3, 2014 AND September 10, 2014

How far behind is it possible for me to be on comic books? But, my new-found lack of time is a both good and bad for this blog.

The bad? I’m way behind on weekly picks and just updating here in general. The good? That was kind of the purpose of this blog in the first place – trying to give people a peek at the world of comics from someone who is just a “casual” fan. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that this is the best thing that could have happened to the Casual Comics Guy. 

So, while I sit at Buffalo Wild Wings, watching the Buccaneers lose a painful football game, I’m going to look through the comics from next week and last week to tell you what I’ll be looking for if I finally manage to get to a comic shop this coming week.

Last week

I’m kind of cheating and only including last week for one thing – my retroactive OFFICIAL Casual Comics Hot Pick of the Week.

Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #0 (of 4)

Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #0 (of 4)

A limited series is always just what the doctor ordered for a casual comic book fan. The fact that this one features Hawkeye (whose current book I love) and Deadpool (who is usually good for a laugh) makes this the only book from last week I’d dig through a back issue bin to find. 

One question – if this is #0 (of 4) will the last issue be #3 or #4. If the answer is that there will be five books (0, 1, 2, 3, and 4), it should be “of 5”. But then you would think they would say “of 5”, which would make you think the last issue was #5. 

They kind of painted themselves into a corner, logic-wise, with the numbering. 

I should also probably mention Original Sin #8, but I stopped caring about that title at #6. Actually, that’s not true. I stopped caring at #2, but Marvel got $16 more bucks out of me before I stopped buying with issue #6.

The last time I was this disappointed was… well about 10 minutes ago when I saw Logan Mankins hurt himself in the Bucs game. See… I CAN multi-task.

Original Sin #8. By: Jason Aaron, Mike Deodato, Julian Totino Tedesco. Marvel Comics. Sure to be terrible.

This Week

Dicks End Of Time #4

Dicks End Of Time #4. By: Garth Ennis, John McCrea. Avatar Press.

Last I checked in with Warren Ellis was Rover Red Charliewhich I really liked. I even thought he nailed the ending of that book. It might have been my favorite mini-series of the last two years. 

So, find me a comic with Ellis’ name on it and the following description, and I’ll even go out looking for the back issues:

“The Boys from Belfast continue their trip through the annals of history as they romp through time screwing up the world for just about everyone. Garth Ennis and John McCrea leave no insult unslung as they attempt to offend every comics reader one page at a time. Don’t miss this latest wallowing in the gutter with Dougie and Ivor, the Dicks.

Available with Regular, Offensive, and Classic Moment Incentive covers by McCrea”

Teen Dog #1 

Teen Dog #1. By: Jake Lawerence. BOOM Studios.

Odds of this being the worst purchase I’ll make? Extremely likely. But how can I resist this solicit: 

Teen Dog is John Hughes meets ’90s Nickelodeon cartoons, two of our absolute favorite things. It’s a totally awesome adventure that stars the canine that spun out of Jake Lawrence’s web comic Time Cowboy and kickflipped his way into our hearts.

How was your high school experience? Teen Dog is high school if it didn’t totally blow, and instead totally ruled the most. Teen angst and whimsical adventures collide in this new series reminiscent of Doug, Saved By the Bell, and Kim Possible.

Admittedly, that’s a lot of name-checking, but they’er pretty good names to check.

Six Million Dollar Man Season 6 #6

Six Million Dollar Man Season 6 #6. By: James Kuhoric, Juan Antonio Ramirez, Alex Ross. Dynamite Entertainment.

Wow… Good for you. You made it six issues! Looks like Jamie and Oscar are in this issue, too! Nostalgia!!

 Fantastic Four #10

Fantastic Four #10. By: James Robinson, Derliz Santacruz, Leonard Kirk. Marvel Comics.

This is another recent favorite of mine. I think the current run of FF is one of my favorite for Marvel’s first family in a looooooong time. I gotta get some of these back issues, too. I still love the red outfits. Hope the story is still good. 

 

Showcase Captain Carrot And His Amazing Zoo Crew TPB

Showcase Captain Carrot And His Amazing Zoo Crew TPB. By: Roy Thomas, Scott Shaw. DC Comics.

For once in the history of Casual Comics Picks DC Comics finally nails down the Official Casual Comics Hot Pick of the Week – even if they had to dig into the vaults to do it.

Captain Carrot is one of my favorite DC characters of all time. i might have some of these issues in a longbox or pile of comics somewhere, but most of my run of Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew is likely to be missing.  Thank you, DC Comics, for finally compiling an old series that actually deserves to be seen again.

Filled with terrible puns, great comic action, and even more terrible puns, I can’t wait to revisit the world of Captain Carrot in Gnu York (get it..? Gnu York…) And, for a book filled with awful jokes and cartoon animal superheroes, this excerpt from the Wikipedia entry reminds my why, in general, I can’t take DC Comics:

The various members of the Zoo Crew lived on a parallel Earth that, during DC’s pre-Crisis multiverse system, was named “Earth-C.” Earth-C consisted of a world where various anthropomorphized talking animals existed; the series featured many animal-themed pun names for real-world aspects.

Did they really have to try and figure out how this figured into normal DC continuity? I mean, DC also publishes Scooby Doo, Where Are You? Did they try and squeeze that into the “multi-verse” somewhere?

OK, that’s enough bitterness. Let’s see if I can find an old page from Captain Carrot to end this post on a high note.

 

 Have a great week, all. Don’t forget to visit your local comic book shop. 

 

Cheers!

– CCG

 

SDCC Swag: The Giveaway #1

I got a bunch of swag from San Diego Comic Con this year. I can’t keep it all. If anyone wants the stuff I’m going to start listing, here’s all you need to do.

Make sure you’re a “follower” of this blog. Reply in the comments to the post. It’s that simple.

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Please, only use for intended purpose. CCG cannot be held liable for David Carradine-like tragedies.

I’ll pick one commenter, at random, and I’ll send you the beautiful swag listed.

#1 – The official “Dexter” lanyard from SDCC. This would look great with any work ID. It might also serve to warn your co-workers to steer clear of irritating you, lest you have latent homicidal tendencies.

If you want this, just be sure you’re following the blog and post a comment in reply to this post answering the question, “Why DO fools fall in love?”

I’ll pick a winner, at random, on Friday at noon (central time), and e-mail you to coordinate delivery of your swag.

Best!

– CCG

1,000 Views and Rolling

Wow! Already at 1,000 views. Thanks so much for following, everyone. I’m still powering through my SDCC notes and photos, so stay tuned. I’m also going to try and sneak in my review of New Avengers #1 and some of the other comics I picked up at SDCC.

– CCG

San Diego Comic Con: The Artists

I met a ton of great artists at SDCC this year.

I’m going to start off with Tess Fowler. I met Tess two years ago at SDCC 2011. She’s a wonderful artist. You should check her out on her facebook page.

She and I talked a couple of years back about the movie “Run, Lola, Run”. In turn, she created this commission for me. It’s so wonderful…

As a casual comics guy, I don’t know all the roles that go into creating something like this. I just know that Tess did a lot of it, and Christopher Gutierrez did the colors.

I will cherish these forever…

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Lola, Rennt

– CCG

PS. Please look at the artists and their work. Buy whatever tickles your fancy. These are talented people. Support them. We are all better for the artists in this world.

PPS – Tess and Chris, if you have any comments, please feel free…

SDCC Photos Round 1: The Doctors

As referenced in an earlier post, every Comic Con experience becomes its own thing. Comic Con isn’t something you do. Comic Con is something that happens to you. You set a course, pick a few guiding principles, and go along for the ride.

2013 is the first Comic Con I’ve attended since I started watching Doctor Who. I was always aware of the presence of the Doctor at the Con, but heading into this Con, I was determined to connect with some Who fans and get photos of the costumes.

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All the Doctors. Get ready to take a step to the left, Mr. Smith.

A few notes to begin. I‘ve watched only the new Doctor Who. Of that, I’ve seen only the first two seasons. I am madly in love with David Tennant in the role of the Tenth Doctor. Even though I can’t imagine why any person would like anyone else in the role, I am determined to give Matt Smith fans the benefit of the doubt. After all, if there’s anything I’ve learned from watching Doctor Who, it’s that everyone should chase their passions with their whole heart and soul, no matter how daft they seem.

Me and him. Right here. I love the Tenth Doctor.

Me and him. Right here. I love the Tenth Doctor.

That’s actually the one thing that I enjoyed most at SDCC in my search for other Who fans this year. Whovians (as I discovered we are called) have an unbeatable zest for life. We are the Wolverines of zeal. There’s a relentless, optimistic view that informs the television series, and that infects the lives of the Whovians I met. I’m not saying every single Who fan is this way, but the ones passionate enough to dress up and head to Comic Con sure are.

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Having said all of that, I am not ready to move on to another Doctor. I will punch you in the face, Eleventh Doctor, if you don’t live up to Ten.

I heard no arguing about which Doctor was the best. No one seemed to care who knew the most about Doctor Who trivia. New Who fans were always welcomed with open arms.

Even though some of my best friends are MSTies, I still hear a Joel vs. Mike debate on occasion at Comic Con. That never happened with the Whovians, even though there are literally 5.5 more incarnations to argue about.

Instead of arguing, there was a relentless drum banging of super-passion for their own favorite Doctor. There wasn’t a negative word spoken about any of the other Doctors, companions, or anything else. Sure, people grumbled about certain episodes being stronger or weaker, but overall if you had your favorite Doctor, people were content to listen to you rave about him until it was their turn to spread some love for their own favorite.

So to all of you who had to listen to me rave about my man-crush on David Tennant, go ahead and comment with your own favorite below.

Now, a couple of notes on the costumes.

When I downloaded my photos, I was not surprised to find only photos of the Fourth, Tenth, and Eleventh Doctors. First off, I haven’t seen the classic series, so it’s entirely possible that there were Doctor Who cosplayers that I missed because I didn’t even recognize the outfits. I did take pictures of a couple of people that I thought might be classic Doctors, but people later told me I was wrong. It was easy for me to spot Nine, Ten, and Eleven, since I’ve seen them the most. And, Four’s scarf is instantly recognizable.

Film Title: Dr Who.

If you don’t know this scarf, there’s something wrong with you… even the CCG knows the scarf.

Also, I was not surprised that I didn’t spot a Nine. The dress doesn’t really seem distinctive, and there isn’t as much geek love for Eccleston as for the other new Doctors.  I would guess that there were no Nine costumes in the convention, but I would be glad if someone could point me to a photo that disproves my hunch.

That said, there were a lot of Doctors at the Con. It’s a great costume and is easy to pull off. Talking to the people, they also love the fact that it’s not bulky, awkward, or hot. It’s easy to walk the floor, look, shop, and attend panels in the suit. Plus, everyone immediately knows you are ready to have a conversation about Doctor Who as you’re standing in line for the next panel. I had even thought about going as the Tenth Doctor this year, and I’ve never done a costume for Comic Con.

That’s the good news for Doctor Who cosplay. The bad news is that there are so many Doctors, it’s hard to pull off something unique or different from the others. Some people managed a distinct look by getting a different prop from a specific episode and/or being a girl. But, it’s tough.

The really bad news, though, is that I got some great advice on where to get a Ten costume for next year. (Sorry, I should have said that the “really bad news” was specific to my wife).

So, on to the pictures. Go the the SDCC Photos page. There’s commentary on all the photos. Be on the lookout for a poll on the Doctors. Just be aware that Gerry and Marty are the best Doctors of all time for reasons you will learn when I post my daily recaps.

As always, questions/comments are not just welcome, but are appreciated.

SDCC Update: Cosplay

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This is, by far, the best costume I saw yesterday at SDCC. I’ll be posting more pictures as I have time. Tons of great costumes here this year.

SDCC Dispatch

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In line at #SDCC to get my badge. My first line, but surely not my last. At least they’ve got the Star Wars theme playing for entertainment.

Casual Comics Guy Visits: Legend Comics

Legend Comics Outside

Legend Comics, 52nd and Leavenworth, Omaha

So, yesterday I got to visit a comic shop I’ve heard a lot about, but haven’t been to in quite a while – Legend Comics and Coffee. Located at 5207 Leavenworth St. , Omaha, NE, the store is certainly different than I remember.

As a Casual Comics Guy, here’s my two cents on the shop.

I went to the store over lunch with my co-worker, Marc. We had just finished a business lunch and were on our way back to the office. In true casual comics fan fashion, we decided we had just enough time to “pop in” and grab a couple of titles.

You the saying, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” (Regardless of how awkward the grammar is in that phrase)? That was the first thing that struck me when I walked in. There’s no “new release” section on the comics wall. There’s also no “recommended” or “hot” titles. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized how much a casual comics fan needs those things in a comic shop to make a “pop in” worthwhile.

Legend-Comics-interior

The store is nice, clean, and well-orgaized

So, I wandered the store in a bit of a fog for a moment, as though under the effects of a “Phantasmal Disorientation” spell (for D&D fans) or a stun grenade (for FPS players). The first shelf immediately to my right, which is where I expected new releases to be, was filled with graphic novels.

It’s at this point that I should mention – Legend Comics and Coffee does have a very fine collection of graphic novels and books. I was very impressed by the selection.

Staggering around, clearing the cobwebs from my head, I recalled that Marc and I had discussed a specific title that neither of us had read in years and years – The Fantastic Four. Apparently, on a show Marc watches about comic books (the one with Kevin Smith, I think) someone mentioned the FF as the worst super team in existence.

When I finally regained my mental faculties, I found that the comic shelves were very well organized. Unlike another comic shop in town, the comics were neatly arranged, alphabetically, and I was able to find the Fantastic Four right away. There were titles for “Fantastic Four” and “FF”, but I picked up Fantastic Four, since it had the Thing on the cover. My girls and I are playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, and I’ve been playing Ol’ Blue Eyes, so I figured it was time to catch up on Uncle Benjy.

One nice thing is that they also had about the last half dozen issues of each title shelved with the current issue. Should I get to be more of a “Semi-regular Comics Guy”, that will be nice. It makes it easy to grab the last several issues and catch up.

As I was leaving, though, I ran into another couple of stumbling blocks. It took me insanely long to check out. There was only one customer in line in front of me, and I have no idea what took so long. Not to say that my time is more important than anyone else’s, but when a casual fan is in the store, we are much more likely to drop our purchases and walk out.

Marc and I were both in danger of running late for a meeting and, not really caring too much about the titles in my hand, it would’ve been easy for me to just forget it. Not to say that I deserve special treatment, but comic shops should realize that there are casual fans (over the lunch hour, maybe look for the business clothes) who will abandon their purchases rather than wait. If you’ve got a hardcore fan who will stand for hours and chat about the latest retcon of that Green Lantern guy who is also a planet, that fan might be OK letting someone else who doesn’t want to talk about those tectonic exploits in depth go ahead.

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This guy. Whatever his deal is.

Also, as I was ringing up, one of my comics buzzed a couple of times. I think it was called “Prelude to Infinity”. I was thinking that if I got in at the Prelude stage, I might stand a chance of understanding the deal with the whole series months from now.

It turns out that the comic wasn’t technically on sale yet. The big table in the middle of the store that looked like any other display, to the untrained eye, was actually where they were sorting and preparing the comics for new comic release day. Hey – if you need the space, go ahead and use it. It’s just that if no one is working on it, a sign that the comics are not on sale yet would be nice. Not everyone is familiar with the street dates of every title.

Overall, shopping at Legend Comics and Coffee was an OK experience. The store was clean and organized – someplace I could take my kids. It felt like they could use more space, but I know real estate is pricey and comics don’t always carry a huge margin.

The checkout experience was slow, but the staff was nice and helpful when I wanted to find a back issue of Hawkeye. The back issues aren’t visibly shelved, but are in drawers. When I asked for issues 3-5 of Hawkeye, the staffer actually went and found it in the drawers and handed them to me instead of just showing me where to look. That was great. Staffers of Legend, I salute you.

I don’t have a rating system for comics or stores yet. What I can say is that I will definitely stop by Legend sometime if I’m in the area and have more time to try the coffee and food. If I hear of an interesting graphic novel, I feel confident I can find it there. But, it’s a tough place for me to stop on a whim since I feel like I need to know what I’m looking for before I go in.

–          CCG

An Introduction To Casual Comics Guy

Hi. I’m an average, casual comics fan. I like comics. I have sometimes loved comics. For spans of months at a time, comics were even my life.

Now? Now I’ve got a wife and three wonderful daughters. Translation: My time is at a premium. That’s why I’m a casual comics guy.

In high school, I walked to the local comic shop (Dragon’s Lair, Omaha, NE, 84th and Blondo) immediately after school every new comics day. Spent a lot of weekends at that shop, too.

If Marvel was publishing a mini-series, it was a must-have. The original “Wolverine” 4-issue mini-series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller? Yep. The “Kitty Pryde and Wolverine” follow-up by Chris Claremont and Al Milgrom? It broke my tender, lovelorn, teenage heart to see Kitty’s hair cut so short, but why not?

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Why is her hair so short Al Milgrom? Why?

Nightcrawler? Check.

Firestorm? Sure.

Cloak and Dagger? Still bagged and boarded in my basement as we speak.

Longshot? I guess…

I became an ultra-fan – a young dude who lived and breathed comics, spending hours in the local comic shop, discussing every title available. I even became “that guy” who used to try to make people read “Grimjack” and “Scout” because they were cool and “not for kids”.

Usagi Yojimbo? Got the original run.

Albedo? All over it.

Beanworld? A treasure.

“Watchmen”? Sure. It’s good, as the bloody smiley-face pin on my black trenchcoat will silently attest. But “V for Vendetta” was better.

Cerebus? (Sorry… I still don’t get that one. All my friends loved it though.)

Somewhere between being “that dude” and today, I lost “it”. It. That passion to know it all. To be able to one-up any comics fan with my encyclopedic knowledge of first appearances and Scott Summers’ twisted family tree.

Today? I’ve got the essentials down. I can explain the different between the 616 universe and the Ultimate Universe. Universe X, though? Forget it. I tried to read all the event comics for a while. I got through Civil War and Planet Hulk, including all the crossovers. When I spent a full afternoon tracking down a “Gamma Corps” crossover for “World War Hulk”, I finally threw my hands in the air. It was official. I couldn’t fight it any more. I was now Casual Comics guy – doomed to know – kind of – what’s going on in the world of comics at all times, but to be confused every time I step into a comics shop.

I still have a friend who has worked at that same Dragon’s Lair since high school. I still go to San Diego Comic Con… every other year.

In turn, that’s what you can expect to see in this blog. Questions that occur to me when I walk into a comic shop and stare blankly at the walls for an hour. I know that the guy working the counter wants to know why I gaze blankly for sixty minutes, shuffling back and forth between New Releases, Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image (I think), and whatever alternative press comics they’ve shelved. Now the cashier, store owner, and super-fan wearing a “Witchblade” shirt whose path through the store I am constantly blocking will all know what’s going on inside the mind of Casual Comics Guy.

‘Cause I can’t be the only one. (I’m talking to you, guy who only gets to go to a comic store when your wife lets you bring your kid to the Pokemon tournament held in back.)

Cheers!

– Joe